Tonight Game 6 becomes an elimination game as the Ducks can put the Blackhawks to bed. However, Chicago is at home, so can they find a way to survive and cash on the NHL odds?
The Anaheim Ducks Can Win Because…
They’ve been the better team this series. Yes, they blew leads in Game 5 but the truth is that they’ve been the better team throughout most of the periods. If they can find a way to cut the Blackhawks off just a little bit better, they’ll be advancing to the Stanley Cup finals. Case and point: one overtime goal swing the other win either in Game 2 or Game 4 and this series would already be done.
The Ducks did a fairly solid job of outplaying and containing the Blackhawks in Game 5 until the last two minutes of the game. Then Jonathan Toews scored a couple of goals while the Blackhawks had their net empty and Chicago forced overtime. However, Anaheim has been great all year at holding one-goal leads, so don’t expect more of this in Game 5.
The Ducks continue to hammer the Blackhawks in terms of hits (41-23 in game 5) and they don’t seem to have any problems getting past Corey Crawford. If they can just maintain their forecheck a little more consistently instead of playing on the defensive so much, they'll take care of business in Game 6.
The Chicago Blackhawks Can Win Because…
They got into Frederik Andersen’s head. Although the Ducks scored the overtime winner 45 seconds into the extra frame, it’s hard not to forget that the Blackhawks even got to that point because Andersen completely stunk up the joint on the final goal of regulation. Toews threw an easy wrister at the net from an impossible angle that no one should ever score from, yet it found a way through. Andersen didn’t face any shots in overtime but we’ll see just how frail he is after giving that one up.
Maybe more importantly, the Blackhawks finally saw their leader, Toews, start to carry them. Him and Patrick Kane have had relatively quiet series here but if that duo can finally step up, the Blackhawks are going to take care of business in Game 6.
Remember, this is a Chicago team that has won Stanley Cups together and played deep into the playoffs many times. They aren’t going to be phased by anything they see. Expect them to bounce back in Game 6 and for them to extend this series to an ultimate Game 7.
I’m leaning towards Anaheim in Game 6 as they have been the better team throughout the series in my eyes. They weren’t intimidated playing at the United Center in Games 3 or 4. They won Game 3 comfortably and probably should have taken care of business in Game 5. At any rate, as a NHL odds road dog, I’m willing to take a flier with them.
At the same time, I like the over in this spot as the goaltending has somewhat gone sour the last couple of games. The blue lines on both sides deserve to share some of the blame but at any rate, there has been 18 goals over the last two contests. And beyond that, only one game has gone under as Games 1 and 2 pushed. That being the case, go over with your NHL picks in Game 6.
NHL Pick: Ducks & Over at Pinnacle